Last Updated on April 15, 2021 by Jenny Pena
Did you read Part 1? Find it here!!!
In Part 1 I covered moving from our life in Miami to go to Panama. Since it was our first move I covered a few details and shared some great photos. Go check it out!
This time I will cover our move to UAE, China, and Thailand!
Our longest stint overseas thus far and freshly growing family of four.
We were in the US for a few months for Noah’s birth, (read his birth story here.) After Panama and before my husband started his new job in UAE, getting our visa and paperwork together for our big move bought us time enough to plan our home birth in Miami.
Enter logistics as far as packing for 4 instead of 3. Packing for a newborn, a toddler, a postpartum mom, a teacher, plus going from tropical living to desert life. UAE provided a new thing for us as well…a few new things actually but for our specific topic, two factors. One: included in the teaching package was a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom huge apartment. Two: it was unfurnished and the benefits included a furniture allowance (aka free $$$$$).
Right away we knew we were going to put into practice RULE #1 THRIFTING! Although we did buy quite a few things brand new. Like a few toys for the kiddos, mattresses, bath and kitchen necessities. We mostly stuck to finding what we could on Facebook buy/sell groups. We found a bunk bed, rugs, vacuum and other cleaning supplies, and things we wouldn’t mind not reselling or gifting away. That, my friends, is the beauty of buying second hand, you tie in RULE #4 to it by reducing sentimental value and thus easily minimizing your life.
Everything we accumulated over the 3 and a half years we spent in UAE was easily sold, gifted, donated or trashed in the span of a month! We had kept our furnishings low, not packing our home with something in every little space. People who visited often thought we had just moved in, even after a few years of calling it home.
After almost 4 years of living in UAE, we knew it was time to go. The why and how we knew I will leave for another time. Because we kept our life there fairly minimal, it was so much easier to sell, pack and go. We packed all our things and decided this time we will need to send just one semi-large box ahead of us. It was full of heavy books and equipment we didn’t want to lug around all the airports. We would be visiting our family in Miami for a few weeks, then back to UAE to pickup our luggage for China, then stop in Thailand for a few weeks before heading to Beijing!
Grainy photos slideshow of our home in UAE!
—Read more about our life in UAE here—
Living in that huge apartment for almost 4 years and growing from a family of 4 to a family of family 5 definitely pushed our minimalism to new levels. Right away we knew our home in China was going to be much smaller and with lots less storage. Kitchens in China are notoriously tiny. We were reducing the number of bedrooms, closet space, and even bathrooms, eeek! But we made it happen. How???
Here is where we really applied all of the rules and then some! Before our move to China we visited our family in the States and knew we would have a long trek to China. So we decided to leave some luggage in a hotel in Abu Dhabi where we would catch a to Thailand where we would hang out for 12 days before our big move to China. So we traveled to Miami with as few things as we could and tried to bring back with us as little as possible (kind of hard to tell family not to gift things to the children!) Then we stopped in Abu Dhabi on our way to Thailand and swooped up our luggage and headed for a beach vacay before big city life in Beijing.
It was tough traveling with 3 littles to an unknown culture and not speaking the language. This was definitely one of the hardest moves of all. BUT the most rewarding experience we have had so far. Yes the living space was a challenge, but it helped us really stay true to our minimalism. The language barrier was really awkward too many times, but it actually made us excited to learn Mandarin and we were able to pick up words and phrases and really work on communicating with the locals.
I am going to write a more detailed post about life in Beijing for those 10 months we were there. Stay tuned!
Here are a few pictures of our space in Beijing, in the next t post about our life in China I will write and show more.
Now that you have read how we put our RULES into practice…can you imagine how our move to Thailand played out? I hope so! And even still it will probably not be at all what you imagine…to be fair, we couldn’t have imagined it and planned it any better than the way it played out. Here is the long-story-short of the details about why our stay in China got cut short and how we ended up in Thailand.
Watch the short version of how we came to be in Thailand
Here I will tell you a bit about how we packed and prepared.
BUT, keep in mind we were not packing and planning as if we were never going to back to Beijing. So we def had to learn RULE #4 the hard way, eliminate all sentimental value!
We planned and prepared for an extended vacation to Miami with a few stops along the way. A few things we kept on our minds was to stay flexible as far as how long we could stay in each spot and to be sure to take anything we didn’t want to leave behind. By that I mean, important documents…not really our belongings. This time, before we left were were in the middle of winter. So I thought we would be back and it would be hot again, i packed all our winter clothes and clothes that didn’t fit them anymore into bags that I could easily store or give away once we returned. We had only been living there for almost 8 months so we really hadn’t yet collected many things anyway.
We packed a few things thinking we would be heading to Miami to visit family and only suitcases of things we thought we might need to continue living a normal life since my husband’s school move to online teaching. I would need their school things, entertainment, and of course we never go anywhere without our Berkey Water filter and Nutribullet. We did end up sending a few tiny boxes to Miami, thinking we would pick them up once we arrived there and continue our travels…but that didn’t happen.
We never made it to Miami. All our flights got cancelled because of the global emergency and Thailand began issuing tourists an amnesty visa every few months. So we stayed. People ask if we were stuck…the truth is NO, we chose to stay because the alternatives were not something we wanted to do. China closed its borders even to people like us who had a visa, and the way the US was heading was not appealing at all.
So here we are! We have moved 4 times in the year we have been here. Living out of hotels, villas, and AirBnB has been quite the adventure. When the borders opened up to China and we had to make a quick to decision to go back or stay, we made the leap into the unknown and decided to stay–no jobs, no plan, but everything fell into place! I will write more about the details of our move and the places we have enjoyed here soon.